Monday, October 26, 2015

Seller Submission: 2003 Audi A4 Avant

This next car comes as a seller submission from Chris who writes: if you decide that you must berate, belittle or badger me, i would ask that you please choose badger as i cant even remember the last time i had a good badgering.  Find this 2003 Audi A4 Avant with 1.8T and slushbox tiptronic transmission offered for $4,300 in San Jose, CA via craigslist.

One of my good friends owned a B6 generation Audi A4 with this same engine/trans combo, although the Audi folks called them 8E to differentiate it from the B6 Passat platform.  Nowadays even Volkswagen owners don't want people to know they drive Volkswagens, but Audi owners have been in that boat for years.  That said, I can tell you it is a very polarizing car that brings out the haters and fanboys like few other cars.

The little 1.8 liter inline-4 is equipped with a crazy 20 valve head (that is 5 valves per cylinder) and a tiny 3K turbocharger that produces 170 horsepower and 166 ft-lbs of torque, but an extra 50 ft-lbs of torque and 30 horsepower is just an ecu tune away. 

Need an automatic for your commute?  Send us something better:


  1. Owned the sedan variant of this platform from new to ~130k miles. I have the following nice things to say:
    1. I love the way they look inside and out, still. I think it has aged quite nicely.
    2. I was able to average 34 MPG on the highway.
    3. The 5 speed manual is redline limited in 5th to 134 MPH.
    4. A stage 1 tune (GIAC) made a MASSIVE difference. I went from being dusted off the line by 18 wheelers and Prius (Priii?) to keeping up with Fiestas and rental-spec Aveos.
    5. The turbo has lasted 130k so far. As did the factory brakes and factory clutch.
    6. I had zero sludge problems.

    Keep in mind, I'm not in any way endorsing the platform or calling it in any way reliable. The list of 6 nice things is in contrast to a list of ~200 (and counting - my parents bought it from me) not so nice things about the car. But I don't want to piss all over a FS thread with them.

    1. ... which is not exactly a belittling, but surely is a "damning by faint praise"

      that said, I sure do like the understated looks of Audis styled in the 80s and 90s - they are very popular here on Neptune - these and the slightly older sharp-yet-smooth ones stand out nicely among the current crop of blobby jellybeans

    2. Agreed on the styling. I like this old, understated Audi grill vs. the current giant, angry, in your face grill that the current stuff wears.

  2. The interior on these is hard to beat at any price in terms of durability, materials, and fit and finish. I picked up a sedan as a flipper with 160k miles on it. With the exception of the cup holder and a couple of buttons the interior looked almost new after a good detailing. There is just no comparison with the other cars I've flipped, Audi interiors are simply superb.

    As for the rest of the car... well, it drove great once I fixed it, haha!

    1. As someone who prefers to keep my fingernails short, in my 10 years of ownership I never had any issues with button delamination. Once my mother got ahold of it, that was the end of the soft-touch black plasti-dip like coating. All buttons, from power windows, radio, HVAC controls you name it, all are all white and don't give any kind of clue as to the function they perform.

      Though not a fatass (or beefcake) by any stretch of the imagination (6'1", 180lbs), at around the 2 year mark I broke the front seat backing-cover from its bottom mounting points. A common problem, from what I read. Wasn't covered under warranty.

      Other than that, the interior stood up nicely. A/C still works in 110+ heat in Palm Springs... if you can figure out how to turn it on.

  3. Reminds me of my 03 Passat B5. Nice car; nice ride, good little motor, good interior and great seats. Had mine to about 105,000 miles and she was very reliable. Should've kept it. So, yes, I love this Audi although a good honest B5 variant would work for me. 1.8T and 5-speed, please.

  4. The 5 valve motor is a mixed bag as have heard of the sludge issue and other problems driven a few of them always felt the throttle pedal was stiff or would hang up just not sure but ran into it more then once. German electrics still scare the crap out of me don't have that much Jam for repairs.


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